Rivaling Hermann Park  for crown jewel of Houston ’s public green space is Memorial Park  (6501 Memorial Dr., 713/845-1000, www.houstontx.gov , 6 a.m.–11 p.m. daily). What sets Memorial Park  apart are its recreational facilities, primarily the hike and bike trails. Located on 1,400 acres formerly dedicated to World War I–era Camp Logan, Memorial Park  is now a magnet for all varieties of athletes and exercisers.
The three-mile Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail is popular with residents who have a daily workout routine and utilize the exercise stations and restrooms along the route. More dedicated runners use the nearby asphalt timing track to work on speed and develop skills, while the Memorial Park Picnic Loop offers a smooth surface for inline skaters, traditional roller skate enthusiasts, and hikers.
Dogs are welcome and even encouraged at the park—canine drinking fountains are conveniently located at ground level along the jogging trails. Just remember to keep your pooch on a leash and to bring a doggie bag.
Mountain bikers race to the park for the miles of challenging terrain along the Buffalo Bayou. The southwest section of the park contains color-coded trails with maps at the trailheads and Infantry Woods provides an advanced trail for those with superior skills. The park’s other recreational opportunities include a full-service tennis center, swimming pool, golf course, fitness center, baseball diamonds, a croquet field, and sand volleyball courts.
Just east of Memorial Park  is the pleasantly modest-sized Buffalo Bayou Park (1800 Allen Pkwy. 713/845-1000, www.buffalobayou.org ), an urban greenbelt with the namesake waterway as its centerpiece. With the towering Houston  skyline as a backdrop, the park draws bikers, joggers, art lovers, and walkers from across the city to relish its riverside trails and bustling activity.
In addition to the smooth, wide trail system, the 124-acre park contains exercise stations, a recreation center, a disc golf course, a children’s playground, and a popular dog recreation area. Public art abounds along the jogging trail, from stainless steel objects representing tree roots on an overpass to the large stone-blocks-turned-sculpture that remain from the city’s demolished civic auditorium.